Mr. Michael Fitzmaurice TD, has today hit out at reports that motor tax on diesel vehicles will be increased in the upcoming budget. Mr. Fitzmaurice described the proposal as unfair and says it’s people in rural Ireland that will be worse affected.
"There is much speculation in recent days about the Government increasing the tax on diesel vehicles in a move towards lower emission vehicles in the Budget, but any such course of action would be very unfair and would affect a lot of ordinary people in rural Ireland who rely on their cars to go about their daily lives”, he said.
Fitzmaurice also says that farmers, due to most of their machines being diesel run, will be one of the worse affected social groups.
“In 2008/9, when John Gormley was in power, they(government) brought people down the road of reducing tax on vehicles to get smaller engines (on the road) and they(the people) invested very heavily, including the farming industry. Now they seem to be trying to rob them again”, he stated.
"Back in 2010 the Government of the time which included the Green Party lowered motor tax rates to incentivise people to buy diesel vehicles and now just seven years later the people are being told to get out of using diesel in a complete u-turn. In many cases people are still paying back for the vehicles that they bought at that time as they were told, and now they are being penalised which is extremely unfair" he added.
“The reality is, Whether we want to live in a fantasy world or not, that a lot of people are going to work and travelling long distances. Or the farming community either, who are reliant on these diesel vehicle engines for pulling their trailers”, said Michael.
He questioned as to how those who switched to diesel about ten years ago could afford to again make a switch, calling it trickery by the government.
“When people make an investment in a car they make it for a good while, because they can’t afford to replace them”, said Fitzmaurice
Mr. Fitzmaurice acknowledged that there is electric cars on the market at the moment, but says they have yet to reach the required standard for farmers to be able to use them efficiently, to pull trailers etc. While he also mentioned a friend struggling to find a charging point for their electric car, due to a local council not fixing it and not having the funds to do so.
“The reality is that no electric car will work to the range that’s there at the moment.”, he added.
He also acknowledged the reasoning behind the move, climate change, though questioned how the government can tax diesel vehicles higher and allow companies such as Bord Na Móna to build factories and pollute the countryside, all while producing products for the US. He says this would be bad enough, but worse as there are no jobs coming to the locality as a result and the environment, the government claim to protect, is the one taking the brunt of the damage.
Fitzmaurice also addressed the talk of lower income tax rates, which he says is a way for the government to pull the wool over our eyes or “screw you out of it one way or another”.
"We have heard a lot of hot air about lower income tax rates in the forthcoming Budget in recent weeks and the experts are all agreed that it will represent less than the value of a pint of beer a week extra to taxpayers. With increases in the PSO levy and now increases in motor tax any small benefit will quickly be swallowed up"
Fitzmaurice said the government should instead look at the factories across the country, such as Bord na Móna, as a more instant way of decreasing our carbon footprint, instead of farmers constantly shouldering the burden.
"Once again the people who need their cars and vehicles to go about their daily lives are being forgotten about, and who is to say that the Government will not go in a completely different direction again in five years time time in relation to motor tax and other matters", he concluded